Research brief – Migrant debt: Guambia – West and central Africa (November 2020)

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""The debt of migrants assisted with voluntary return and its impact on the sustainability of reintegration in The Gambia""

More than 5,000 Gambian migrants returned to The Gambia between January 2017 and July 2020 through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme. However, reports on the socio-demographic profiles of return communities published by IOM in 2018 revealed that the level of debt of return migrants has a significant impact on reintegration processes. To better understand this impact, IOM conducted a study in The Gambia which aimed at: developing the profile of returning migrants with debts; understanding the mechanisms by which returning migrants contracted debts, at which stages along the migration route, and which actors are involved in the process; and assessing the impact of debt on the reintegration process of returnees in their communities of origin. The study was developed following a mixed-method approach (qualitative and quantitative) combining :interviews with key informants including migrants assisted to return, local and national government authorities, community leaders, academics, and AVRR assistants; individual surveys with returning migrants; and exploratory focus group discussions with migrants and family members.

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